Dear Campus School Families,
I once had a teacher in elementary school who would often respond to a
student question with this retort: "are you being serious or delirious?" Needless
to say, this attitude did not produce a classroom environment that was
conducive to the free and easy exchange of ideas, and soon questions
themselves dissipated, which, in hindsight, is what this teacher might have
wanted all along.
In his book Conscientious Objections, Neil Postman writes that "questions are
the most important intellectual tool we have," and he wonders why the art and
science of asking questions is not taught in any systematic way.
In addition to this, far too many schools are good at providing answers but not
asking worthy questions, and students receive information passively and
understand that answers only have utility when they are transferred to the
correct bubble on a standardized test.
There is a better way. A curriculum rich in inquiry, in asking essential
questions, the ones that stimulate real thinking and feeling, is a critical part of
an excellent education. Good questions do, of course, lead to answers, but the
process of getting to this end point is highly active, meaningful, relevant, and
engaging, and the answers ultimately obtained are all the more satisfying.